“That Cake Is Blue”: Kitschy Kitschy Coconut Cake

On Wednesday night, our beloved teacher Janet had us over for our end-of-the-semester party. As you may remember form the raspberry tart post, on Monday night our teacher Carol had us over for a very similar party. I was under the gun to make yet ANOTHER fabulous dessert—a final confectionary statement to leave my class dazzled. Which is why I found it so funny when Colin, upon sitting at the table, turned and saw the cake I made and said: “That cake is blue.”

The way he said it betrayed layers of disgust and fascination. Like someone popping a CD in and saying “this is my favorite song” and you responding, moments later: “This song is ‘We Are The World.'”

But that’s what’s so great about this cake. It’s the anti-fancy-shmancy cake. You will not find this cake in The French Laundry cookbook nor will they be making it at the Culinary Institute of America. Instead, you will find it in “Cooking For Mr. Latte” in a chapter about a dinner party Amanda Hesser went to. She describes the cake as fluffy like a cloud and that’s what it is. This cake is a cloud. Look at it:

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It reminds me of a Hostess snowball only better–more alluring. And blue. Don’t you love that it’s blue?

Look, I can’t give you the recipe. I’ve practically retyped all the recipes from “Cooking For Mr. Latte” these past few decades of blogging. You really should get this book yourself and if she annoys you, just use the recipes. They’re really great recipes—among my favorites I own.

But here’s the basic process. You make the cake. It’s incredibly easy. It’s butter, it’s sugar, it’s flour and then, at the end, grated orange peel. You bake it and it rises up after only 25 minutes:

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You let it cool—cake, cake, crazy cake, get cool cake.

Now for the fun part: the icing. This icing is the most exciting icing I’ve ever made. It involves a double boiler, egg whites, my handheld electric mixer and a huge mountain of powdered sugar:

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So as you’re beating and beating, the water’s boiling underneath and your egg whites are firming up. It’s like science lab except you can lick it. Here’s what you end up with:

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That blob in the middle is food coloring. I couldn’t find blue food coloring anywhere until I discovered the Winnie the Pooh brand at Gristedes. I have no shame about using Disney products in my cooking—you should see my Little Mermaid tartar sauce! Anyway, you whip that in and it turns the prettiest shade of Tiffany blue. You begin to ice your cake:

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And that’s it. You sprinkle some coconut there, add the other layer, put icing all around, then some more coconut and then you’re done!

You saw the finished product above, now see my happy classmates as I present the cake to them while we all pose for a picture with our teacher, Janet:

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Such a happy group, no? Blue cake brings out the best in people. Even Colin came around: “I wouldn’t normally eat blue cake, but because you made it…”

Look at this lovely slice:

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It may be lowbrow, but to me it’s heaven on a plate.

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